The 41st-annual Writers Week was carried out from Feb. 12 to Feb. 17, bringing a total of 20 writers to the UCR campus to read from their selected works and address questions. From UCR faculty, alumni and internationally recognized artists spanning several generations, the voices heard throughout the event resonated with audiences young and old.
The first of Writers Week’s 20 literaries to present throughout the week was poet Tess Taylor. Taylor is the author of the New York Times’ “Best Poetry of 2016” book “Work & Days,” as well as the 2003 chapbook “The Misremembered World” and the 2013 poetry book “The Forage House.” She is also the on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s “All Things Considered” radio program and the chair of the National Book Critics Circle’s poetry committee.
Taylor began her hour-long time slot with readings from “Work & Days,” “The Forage House” and a few from her upcoming book,“The Rift Zone,” the first of which centered around her hometown of El Cerrito. “It’s fun to write about the place you are,” she said. In between poems which she gracefully skirted around anecdotes equal parts droll and poignant. “Writing ‘Work & Days,’” she said during her Q&A, “I began thinking about farm poetry,” which is reflected in her poems, which act as dialogues of sorts between agrarians of the past and herself during her time spent farming at Farm Girl Farm in Sheffield, MA in 2010. “What is poetry if not artisanal?” she says.